Gary Speed, Robin Williams, and Why Suicide in Men Must Be Discussed More Openly

Photography by Lucy Alice B.

27th November, 2011. That’s comfortably over ten years ago now. It’s been ten years and I still remember it like it happened last week. Thinking about that fact, I never realised at the time just how profound an effect it would have on me.

After a stellar career on the field amassing 535 apps and 80 Premier League goals, and a spectacular start off of it as he ventured into management, reports came flooding in on national television and press of how ex-footballer and then Wales men’s national team manager, Gary Speed, had been found dead in his home. I couldn’t comprehend it. My brain couldn’t hear those words strung together in that sentence, and make it make sense. He had just appeared on Football Focus, literally the day before. He was lively, passionate, and excited about everything in the pipeline with the Welsh team. He was a Premier League legend, and one of football’s nice guys (off the pitch, anyway). He was a fan’s favourite pretty much wherever he played, but especially during his spells at Leeds United (1988-96) and Newcastle United (1998-2004), respectively. He’d taken charge of Wales in February, and his life came to a terribly premature end just a few months later. It’s been over ten years, and at times I still struggle with accepting it.

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